United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
DONALD L. EDEN, Plaintiff,
WAL-MART STORES, INC., Defendant.
ORDER DENYING CREDITOR'S MOTION TO FORECLOSE
LIEN, GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S
MOTION, AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Creditor Darrin Bailey's
(“Bailey”) motion to enforce lien (Dkt. 33),
Defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s
(“Wal-Mart”) motion for entry of judgment and
leave to deposit funds into the Court (Dkt. 35), and
Plaintiff Donald Eden's (“Eden”) motion for
extension of time (Dkt. 37). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as
17, 2015, Eden filed a complaint against Wal-Mart in Thurston
County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1-2.
Eden's claims were based on allegations of Wal-Mart's
employees using excessive force when they confronted Eden
about possibly stealing merchandise from the store.
September 17, 2015, Wal-Mart removed the matter to this
Court. Dkt. 1.
August 13, 2016, Wal-Mart filed a notice of settlement. Dkt.
10. During mediation, the parties agreed to payment of $25,
000 to Eden and other terms, including the provisions that
(1) Eden would “execute a full and final release of all
claims” and (2) the “parties will stipulate to a
dismissal with prejudice of [Eden's] claims.” Dkt.
24 at 5 (“Settlement Memorandum”). These terms
were reduced to writing and signed by Eden, his attorney
Bailey, and Wal-Mart's attorney. Id.
March 31, 2017, Bailey filed a motion to withdraw based on
irreconcilable differences between attorney and client. Dkt.
18. On April 3, 2017, Bailey filed a notice of attorney's
lien for $10, 409.50. Dkt. 19. This amount consisted of
$409.50 of costs and $10, 000 for reasonable attorney's
fees based on the parties' contract for 40% contingency
of the proposed settlement amount of $25, 000. Id.
On April 24, 2017, the Court granted Bailey's motion to
withdraw. Dkt. 20. That same day, Eden filed a letter
explaining his position. Dkt. 21. Eden asserted that he would
not agree to various provisions within Wal-Mart's final
proposed settlement agreement. Id. at 15.
11, 2017, Wal-Mart filed a motion to enforce the settlement
agreement. Dkt. 22. On June 19, 2017, the Court denied the
motion because Wal-Mart failed to show that the parties had a
complete meeting of the minds as to the material terms of the
settlement. Dkt. 26.
March 16, 2018, the parties notified the Court that Eden had
accepted Wal-Mart's offer of judgment in the amount of
$45, 000. Dkt. 31.
March 28, 2018, Bailey filed a motion to foreclose his
attorney's lien asserting that he is entitled to the
original sum of $10, 409.50 plus interest from the date he
filed his lien. Dkt. 33. Bailey also submitted his legal
services agreement with Eden. Dkt. 34-1. The agreement
provided that Eden would pay reasonable attorney's fees
of “40% of any recovery at any time before through
entry of a judgment or arbitration award in the Matter (but
before appeal).” Id. ¶ 5. Eden also
agreed “to pay all costs, including any costs that are
advanced by [Bailey].” Id. ¶ 7. Upon
termination of representation, Eden agreed to pay “the
reasonable value for services rendered plus unreimbursed
costs.” Id. ¶ 12(c). If a dispute arose
regarding fees, Eden agreed to submit the dispute to
“the Washington State Bar Association for arbitration
and prompt resolution.” Id. ¶ 17.
Finally, the parties agreed that any action to enforce the
agreement shall be filed “in King County Superior Court
or King County District Court, Seattle Division.”
April 16, 2018, Wal-Mart filed a motion for entry of judgment
and requested leave to deposit the settlement funds into the
Court registry pending the Court's resolution of Eden and
Bailey's dispute. Dkt. 35. No party opposed this motion.
April 26, 2018, Eden filed a motion for extension of time to
allow his untimely response to Bailey's motion. Dkt. 37.
On May 1, 2018, Bailey responded to Eden's motion. Dkt.
the relevant Washington statute mentions an action to enforce
a lien on a judgment, “the statute does not set out a
procedure for enforcement.” King Cty. v. Seawest
Inv. Associates, LLC, 141 Wn.App. 304, 315 (2007).
“[T]he statute does not require that such an action be
separate from the underlying proceeding. Thus, it places the
question of how to properly adjudicate the lien with the
court, requiring it to fashion some ‘form of proceeding
by which the matters might be properly